Despite the constant rain, the intrepid adventurers (us, that is) visited Cologne (Köln) last Friday. Cologne is very good at WOWing visitors, because the first thing one sees on leaving the train station is the gigantic, beautiful Cologne Cathedral. Its architecture is Gothic, and it is a Roman Catholic Church consecrated to St. Peter and Mary, with regular services throughout the day. (Details can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cologne_Cathedral). Before we entered the Cathedral, we got a tour through Cologne's historic downtown, including touching the nose of a sculpture for good luck! There are two sculptures, Tünnes and Schäl, two fictitious Cologne characters - just make sure you touch the right nose, because if you touch Schäl's nose, you will never return to Cologne. The teachers made sure all the kids got it right - we definitely didn't want to hinder potential future visits!
After our tour, we finally entered the Cathedral. It is an amazing building, with many statues, altars, altar pieces, colored window glass with bible motives, and an awe-inspiring architecture. We also got a tour through the church, marveling at the builders' feats over the centuries.
Afterwards, we decided to walk up to the top of the steeple - 533 steps up and down a winding staircase! But it was a worthwhile effort, because the view from up there is breathtaking. And of course, we did something for our fitness (the President's physical fitness test is nothing against that).
Finally, we went to the Chocolate museum, found out about the history and production of chocolate, and even got a taste of the famous Lindt chocolate. What a perfect way to end our visit in Cologne! Our next trip: Aachen!